Advent exits lighting and bakery deals

Advent Limited in August announced the sale of two UK investments dating from the early 1990s, IBL Holdings, an expansion capital deal, and Maison Blanc, a buy-in from receivership.

IBL, a supplier of integrated low-voltage lighting products, was seven years old when it raised an initial round of development funding from Advent in 1991. Advent provided a further capital injection two years later, taking its aggregate commitment to the company to GBP979,000 ($1.6 million) for a holding of slightly less than 50 per cent. During the investment period, IBL established itself as a leading supplier of innovative low-voltage and fluorescent lighting systems. The company’s organic growth was reinforced in 1998 through the acquisition of Creed Light Engineering, and IBL currently makes an annual profit of GBP1.6 million ($2.6 million) on sales of GBP15 million ($24 million).

Advent sold its shareholding in IBL to Lloyds Development Capital in a deal that generated net proceeds of GBP5.6 million ($9 million). The sale was the first instance of Advent exiting via sale to a later-stage private equity provider. IBL’s incumbent management team continues with the company.

Maison Blanc was sold to Lyndale Foods in the first half of this year, generating net proceeds of GBP4.3 million ($6.9 million) for Advent, compared with the original GBP630,000 ($1 million) cost of the investment.

Advent led the buy-in of Maison Blanc from the receivers in 1992, appointing Greg Henley Price, a former Grand Metropolitan chief executive, to head the management team. The company, which manufactures high quality French bread and patisserie, has prospered since the buy-in and, in the year to April 1999, generated GBP1.2 million ($1.9 million) of post-tax profits on sales of GBP9.7 million ($15.6 million). Its wholesale customers include leading contract and event caterers, hotel groups, and department stores. Maison Blanc also supplies specialist coffee shop chains – a market that is growing rapidly at present – and itself operates ten shops throughout London and the Home Counties.

The acquisition of Maison Blanc was a strategic move for Lyndale Foods, a rapidly expanding, privately owned bakery group, which has gained the company a high-end market presence in London and the south-east. Maison Blanc, meanwhile, is ideally positioned to expand into other UK regions under its new ownership. Lyndale Foods is itself private equity backed, having received a GBP66.5 million ($107 million) refinancing package from HSBC Private Equity at the time of the Maison Blanc acquisition.